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Slaughter At Columbine High School

How Could This Happen?
What Can Be Done to Keep It From Happening Again?

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
President of Logos Communication Consortium, Inc.

Links to Topics:

Three Things That Are At The Root of Violence
An Important Contributing Factor In Youth Violence
Five Key Responsibilities Involved In Proper Parenting
How To Find Out Where Your Child Is At
The Roman Road To Heaven


Another school in another town has been added to the bloody list this past week. Already on the list of schools where people have been shot to death are…

  • Moses Lake, Washington -- 2 students and 1 teacher
  • Bethel, Alaska -- 1 student and the principal
  • Pearl, Mississippi -- 2 students & parents of the shooter
  • West Paduca Kentucky -- 3 students
  • Jonesboro, Arkansas -- 4 students and one teacher
  • Edinboro, Pennsylvania - 1 teacher
  • Pamona, California -- 2 students
  • Fayetteville, Tennessee -- 1 student
  • Springfield, Oregon -- 2 students
  • Now, Littleton, Colorado -- 12 students, 1 teacher and 2 suicides

Nearly everyone is aware of the bloody slaughter that took place at Columbine High School April 20, 1999. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold slaughtered twelve students and one teacher before they took their own lives. It was on television, the radio, in the papers, and on the Internet incessantly. It was the primary topic on the talk shows and call in programs. The same two questions came up again and again – How could this happen? What can be done to keep it from happening again?

How could this happen?

There is no single answer to either question. But, the politically correct politicians are quickly using the Colorado blood bath as a stepping stone for new gun control laws. To be sure, I do not believe that guns belong in school. But, this will not solve the problem. This is just like putting a band-aide on a cancer. The problem is much deeper! In order to answer the question -- How could this happen?, we need to go deeper and discover what is at the root of all violence. As always, I have looked for the answers in the Bible and have discovered that there are at least three things at the root of violence.

Three Things That Are At The Root of Violence

  • Rebellion -- There are two aspects of rebellion that we will look at. There is rebellion against God and then there is rebellion against God’s three authority structures.

Rebellion Against God

The very first use of the word violence in the Bible occurs in Genesis 6. Mankind had rebelled against God. He went his own wicked way. The results are clearly seen in Genesis 6:11-13. It is clear that rebellion against God results in violence! Before I go further, I want to emphasize one thing. Those who rebel against God, hate God. Those who hate God, love death. Proverbs 8:36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. I believe this explains our death oriented culture.

So, how does one rebel against God? The answer is found in Psalm 2:1-3. They break the commandments of God and throw off His principles. But, please note who the offenders are! They are the kings and the rulers. They conspire to rebel against God! Then, the natural result of their rebellion trickles down to the citizens! Rebellious leaders lead to rebellious citizens.

Listen my friends, that’s exactly where we are in America today! Many individuals have simply followed their leaders in rebellion against God. Rebellion against God is politically correct in America and sanctioned in many of her laws! Make no mistake -- for the most part, our elected and appointed officials are in rebellion against the Lord God Almighty! Make no mistake -- rebellion against God results in violence! That brings me to the second aspect of rebellion…

Rebellion Against Legitimate Authority

God, who is the ultimate authority and who has given us His word to be the final authority for belief and behavior, has set up three authority structures that are to work in concert together with each other to keep the order. I will list them in the order in which God has established them -- 

1) The Family,  2) The Government,  3) The Church

No one in their right mind will deny that the family is the key building block in any society. Further, God clearly established the church for the purpose of propagating His principles and serving as the moral conscience in the culture. But, in our day, the GOVERNMENT has rebelled against both the family and the church. God never designed the government to rear children! That is not the government’s job. God designed the family for that. Yet today, laws are commonly passed that usurp the authority of the family. They pass laws that say that parents are responsible to control their children and then characterize parents who administer biblical discipline by spanking as barbaric or criminal. Children are removed from the home by social services.

What has been done to the church? The government certainly has usurped the Christian church's authority! The Judeo-Christian values that our country was founded on have been kicked out of the Government schools. And what has replaced them? Evolution which teaches that man is basically an animal; relativism which teaches that there is really no right and wrong; humanism which teaches them to be self-oriented instead of others oriented; psychology which teaches that man is basically good, problems of life are someone else's fault and can be solved without God.

To the nation’s educators I would rehearse to you the words of another educator, Noah Webster -- "Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America's textbook in all fields. God's Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct."

To our politicians I would repeat the words of our first President, George Washington -- "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

Anyone who rebels against God and the authority structures which He instituted can expect VIOLENCE sooner or later!

Violence has another root as well – the twin root of pride and selfishness.

  • Pride & Selfishness

Pride and selfishness work hand in hand as the roots of violence. Let's look at pride first. Turn to Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. The Hebrew word translated only means surely. The Hebrew word translated pride means haughtiness, arrogance, insolence and rebellious. This kind of pride presumes to have more authority than warranted. Hence, the haughty, arrogant, insolent rebel believes he is the authority and can do as he wants. That's where the selfishness comes in.

James 4:1-2 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

When self is #1 there is little respect for anything or anyone else! You do whatever it takes to please yourself. The result is violence. The character traits of those who are selfish (who love themselves) are revealed in 2 Timothy 3:2-7. They are greedy, arrogant, abusive, ungrateful, unforgiving, impulsive, and angry among other things.

Make no mistake Rebellion, Pride & Selfishness are at the root of all violence! When rebellion, pride and selfishness increase nationally or in an individual's life, violence increases.

An Important Contributing Factor In Youth Violence

While there are basic or root factors that contribute to violence, there are also more specific factors that fuel that violence as well. The major contributing factor in sky-rocketing American youth violence today is without a doubt…

Parents Who Are Not Parenting

Absentee dads, broken homes, and working mothers provide a breeding ground for hurt, angry, bitter, violent children. A child left to himself will bring shame, sorrow, grief and bitterness to his parents (Proverbs 29:15; Proverbs 17:21 & 25). God's mandate is clear. If you are going to make babies, you have the responsibility to parent them! Consider the following passages --

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

First, you train up a child in the way he should go, not the way he wants to go. Secondly, it is not just the mom's job. Also, God does not say anywhere "it takes a village" to rear a child, but He does say dad is to be involved. Thirdly, God provides guidelines in the Bible to show us how to parent properly.

Five Key Responsibilities Involved In Proper Parenting

here are five key responsibilities in parenting that are pointed out in the Bible. They are Education, Communication, Participation, Regulation, and Investigation. When do these responsibilities start? At their 5th birthday, their 2nd,when? They begin the moment your child is born. Let's look at each of these responsibilities individually.

  • Education -- Deuteronomy 6: 1-9

The primary person responsible for a child's education is the parent. And, I might add, the primary things to be taught are biblical values. Deuteronomy 6 makes that clear, Proverbs 22 makes that clear, Ephesians 6 makes that clear. And again it is a joint effort! Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Biblical instruction sets the moral compass of a child's life! It show us what is right, what's not right, how to get right, and how to stay right. (2 Timothy 3:16)

  • Communication - Deuteronomy 6:7; James 1:19

Parents need to have open, often (daily), communication with their children. Real communication includes talking and listening! Hear your children out, even if you disagree (Proverbs 18:13), provided they are calm and respectful. Find out what's going on in your child's life. What his/her opinion is, and why. Be sensitive to their emotional state -- are they sad, mad, glad, and find out why. Then lay the Bible grid alongside the situations they face in life and teach them how to implement its instructions. (Examples: How we are supposed to handle anger; What's appropriate sexual morality; etc.)

  • Participation

It is obvious from Deuteronomy 6 that God expects us to be involved in the lives of our children. While it is true that we no longer live in an agricultural society, we still need to be involved in the lives of our children. Do things with them! Plan activities that involve them. Go to their school activities. Participation in the life of your child will enable you to see how they behave, who their friends are and how they interact with others, etc.

  • Regulation -- Proverbs 4:10-27; Proverbs 23:13-14

God expects parents to set clear boundaries for their children. Your children need to know what the rules are. Then they should be commended for obedience and corrected for disobedience. Eli the priest did not carry out this parental responsibility in dealing with his errant sons. God judged him because he "restrained them not." (1 Samuel 3:13). The last point is this…

  • Investigation -- Proverbs 18:17

If you are going to be a proper parent and have your children in order you must regularly be involved in investigation. You must know who they are hanging around with and who their friends are. You need to know the values of the families of their friends. Know who they are talking to on the phone, who they are writing and receiving mail from (e-mail included). You need to know the chat rooms they are visiting, the web sites they are visiting. What music are they listening to? What videos are they watching and what video games are they playing? You need to know where they are going and what they are doing and don't always take their word for it. Check it out! Then respond accordingly. Curtail wrong friendship (1 Corinthians 15:33; Psalm 1). Prohibit wrong music, games, videos & TV (Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 23:7). Stop questionable activities. Remember, God holds you responsible for training up your children in the way they should go, not the way they want to go. In fact, your children are a reflection of your parenting.

In summary, remember it is the parent’s responsibility to parent their children---not the day care center, not the neighbor lady, not the government, not the school system, not even the church. Rearing children is the parent's job. Proper parenting includes these five things -- Education, Communication, Participation, Regulation, and Investigation. When parents do not fulfill their God given role, children will follow the way they want to follow, which will lead to disaster.

So, what can be done if you have come to the realization that you really have not done such a hot job of parenting and you are not sure what is going on with your child? What can you do to find out where your young person is at today?

How To Find Out Where Your Child Is At

You can get a good idea whether your young person is headed for trouble or not by examining the following things. Carefully evaluate each area listed.

  • What They Are Filling Their Minds With? - Proverbs 23:7
    Is it wholesome things that will build him up or worldly things that will tear him down.
  • Who Are Their Heroes? - Proverbs 4:14-19; Proverbs 4:23
    Are their heroes wicked men or just men; moral or immoral?
  • Who Are Their Friends? - 1 Corinthians 15:33
    There is an old saying which says, "birds of a feather flock together." That is true. You can tell the direction your children are going by knowing what kind of friends they have.
  • What Is Their Delight or Obsession? - Psalm 37:4; Isaiah 66:3b
    If the obsession is carried to its ultimate conclusion, what will be the effect on the child or others? Will it be good or bad?
  • What (who) Do They Hate & What (who) Do They Love? - Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 8:13; 1 John 3:15
    To hate evil and love good is just fine. And to hate the evil that people do is appropriate as well. But to focus your hatred on people puts you on dangerous ground. Vandalism and damage to others property are an indicator of hatred. Threats and plans to hurt others or themselves indicates serious danger.
  • What Comes Out of Their Mouth When They Think You Are Not Around or When They Are Under Pressure - Proverbs 16:1
    How a person talks to his friends and what comes out when a person is under pressure is a reflection of that person's true character.
  • How Do They Treat Pets & Animals - Proverbs 12:10
    The Bible indicates that those who mistreat animals have a cruel nature.

  • Rebellion against authority in multiple areas is a sure indicator that the young person is headed for trouble.
  • How Do They Dress (or Want To Dress)? - Psalm 1:1
    The kind of things that a young person wants to wear is an indicator of the crowd that he identifies with.
  • How Do They Handle Persecution & Trial - Proverbs 14:17; Proverbs 29:22
    Persistent anger, hatred and bitterness are indicators that trouble is brewing. A wise parent will work with their child to discern the cause and teach the child to respond to the situation biblically.

Take a close look at your young person. Weigh what you see. Are they filling their minds with the wrong things? Do they have the wrong heroes and are they hanging around with the wrong crowd? Do they delight in the wrong things and love the wrong things? Do they mistreat their pets or other animals? Are they rebellious against authority? Do they dress like the wrong crowd? Are they consistently angry, hateful, and bitter? If there is a proliferation of these actions in your child's life, they are not just going through a stage! They are in trouble and headed for trouble and you need to step in NOW! Perhaps something can be done. And even if it has gone on too long, you are obligated to try to help. That is a parent’s obligation. The Bible says, …he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James 5:20

I do not know the parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. But I know they must be in agony over the action of their sons. Were they following the biblical guidelines for parenting? I do not know, but I have my doubts. I believe if they would have followed the biblical guidelines for parenting or even taken the time to find out where their sons really were, in all likelihood Coach Dave Sanders, Cassie Bernall, Steven Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matthew Ketcher, Daniel Mauser, Daniel Rohrbough, Rachel Scott, Isaiah Shoels, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend and Kyle Velasquez would still be alive.

May this horrific incident wake parents up to their parenting responsibilities. May parents see the importance of getting involved and seeing that their children are involved in a Bible believing church. Further, though it is not likely, it is my prayer that this slaughter will wake up our government officials and cause them to realize that there are two other equally valid authorities ordained by God -- the home and the church. May they see as well that to focus primarily on the guns is like putting a band-aide on a cancer. They need to focus on curtailing violence in entertainment. They need to give families back their authority and even facilitate parental involvement and encourage biblical discipline at home and at school. They need to ungag the Christian Church, allowing prayer and Bible morality to once again be a part of the government schools and daily public life.

Finally, I must remind you that none of us can count on tomorrow! If you were to die before the day is out, do you know for sure you would go to Heaven? You can know for sure (1 John 5:13). Cassie Bernall knew! I read this about her. A few years back she had been involved in the occult witchcraft. But "Cassie Bernall, 17, became a born-again Christian two years ago and was active in church youth programs and Bible study groups. Cassie was in the school library reading her Bible when the two young killers burst in. According to witnesses, one of the killers pointed his gun at Cassie and asked, do you believe in God?" Cassie paused and then answered, ‘Yes, I believe in God.’ ‘Why?’ the gunman asked. Cassie did not have a chance to respond; the gunman had already shot her dead.’"

Though Cassie was martyred in the blood bath, she went home to be with the Lord Jesus in Heaven, because she trusted Christ as her personal Savior. If you are not sure that Christ is your Savior, I urge you to trust Him today.


(The title comes from the fact that all of this article is from the Bible's book of Romans)

Romans 3:10- "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."

Romans 3:23-'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

Romans 5:12-"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

Romans 6:23-'For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 5:8-"But God commendeth (proved) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9&10-"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shalt not be ashamed."

Romans 10:13-"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Why not call upon the Lord right now and ask him to Save you from your sins.

Pray something like this --

Dear Lord Jesus,
I confess that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness.
I believe that you, Lord Jesus Christ, died for my sins and rose again from the dead.
I now trust only in you Christ to save me from my sins and take me to Heaven.
Come into my life, forgive my sins and save my soul.
Thank you for hearing my prayer. AMEN

If you have made a decision to trust Christ as you Savior as a result of reading this article, drop me a note. E-mail: FirstBaptistChurchOC@gmail.com

May God Bless You


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